Since the start of COVID 19, many governments have considered containment and Home Office phases to be the toughest but most effective response.

Home Office is not an invention linked to COVID, since it’s a solution that began to exist in the early 80s.

25 years ago, and the explosion of tech companies and net economy, we saw the emergence of a new ideal business model, whose cultural and organizational elements were to bring Home to the Office.

We started playing foosball, table tennis or pinball, working with flexible and chosen hours, going down two floors and sharing a moment of awakening with our child at the company day-care, bringing our laundry to the office, which moreover began to look furiously like our living room. The basis of the executives’ life has slowly slipped towards the company which has become a true replica of our homes.

These same actors of the net economy then imagined more and more powerful tools, of which the smartphone is undoubtedly an outcome, and slowly, our Office slipped into our pocket…

One of the consequent effects of this “technological progress” was a permeabilization, then an inextricable mixture of professional and personal life, allowing us to be in the Office AND at Home…

We have collectively agreed to work in transport, on weekends or after dinner and reading stories to children, lulling us into the idea that we were already privileged to be able to work, regardless of the organization set up.

And then the COVID hit us all, with, at the heart of the panel of answers provided, Home Office!!!

But at very different doses, since we were deprived of the Office to work ONLY from Home.

As in all crisis situations, the job market has experienced very contrasting situations over the past two years and violent amplitudes rarely equalled since the first oil shock in the 70’s.

With the thinning of the vaccine, we can begin to analyse the fact that many of our candidates are very cautious about taking risk of changing jobs.

In addition, certain sectors, very affected by the crisis, are starting to recruit in an endemic way, offering never seen before salaries, and allowing lots of people to change their lives.

Finally, the youngest of the boomers are finally retiring, and then comes a marked gap in the age pyramid of developed societies

There is therefore a shortage of profiles, and we are performing feats to bring companies profiles in a talent war that is no longer virtual.

Here again, the tech world anticipates and offers surprising answers. A few employers, more numerous every month, install oversized IT tools, pay for all subscriptions to streaming platforms, have ergonomic gaming chairs delivered, deliver meals, have the drycleaner come over, do your shopping, and all for a salary between 35 and 50% higher than market prices !!

They thus operate a reverse movement and bring the Office back in our Home, ensuring that you have nothing left to do but work. Some even go so far as to cynicism to explain that it is good for the environment since it saves trips for the planet…

What about the feeling of belonging, the exchanges at the coffee machine, the sterile meetings that allowed people to meet, the retirement drink, or the envelope circulating for a birthday? If work can be an alienation, contact with others is undoubtedly a liberation…

But are we sure that the younger generation that is entering the market is in tune with what they consider an archaic vision?

Studies prove that they consider work and companies as a commodity, that they make a severe analysis of the negative impacts of work on health (burnout, cancers, etc.), that they are more attached to cultural structures when external to the company, and they are not ready to consider money as a marker of success.

The challenge for us recruiters is perhaps to convince our clients that we will therefore have to tell this new breed of candidates another story, to seduce them with other issues, and that happens, listening to them, by a real dissociation between Home and Office.

Article written by Stéphane LEHIDEUX, CFR Global Executive Search France

Photo source: Pexels

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